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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: November 17, 2014, 01:00:30 pm »
Check your AC maps for specifics, but I recall them being pretty far apart at times.  A guy I rode with had several mechanical problems that required him to hitch a ride.  I don't think he needed to go more than 50 miles or so, but in other locations there were places with not much for a long ways.  The good news is that in those remote locales it is easy to hitch a ride.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: November 15, 2014, 11:13:28 am »
Surprisingly, because I'm not very social, many of the highlights of the trip thus far are the people Jve met.

I am not surprised.

I met more interesting local people on the ST than on any other route.  I also met a few interesting folks that were riding the ST.  I found a lot of interesting and really good food along the way too.  Good Mexican food, Cajun food, barbecue, and seafood were highlights of various sections.

On the downside I found the scenery pretty uninteresting or even dreary much of the way, especially in Texas (which was a full 1/3 of the trip).  YMMV on that though.  I tend to like forests and mountain streams, and found day after day of dry brown scrub as far as the eye can see a little depressing.  I hear that some folks actually thought the ST was pretty scenic.  There were some pretty areas, they were just a small portion of the trip.  Fortunately, the people and the food, both of which were awesome, made it worthwhile to me.

Routes / Re: Co$t of Travel
« on: November 14, 2014, 06:19:20 am »
Traveling the Southern Tier in April and wondering if anybody can give an average cost to this trip with camping and some motels. This will be my first big tour.  How hard is it? Many mountains?
I found lots of free camping, some of it in impromptu roadside sites, and the occasional motel room was usually reasonably priced.  I didn't employ stealth at all and when wild camping camped in plain sight.  That worked pretty well once well away from either coast.

There are mountains, but it is probably still the easiest of the coast to coast AC routes by a long shot.  If starting in the west the ride is pretty challenging for a while from the start.

I met a lot of interesting people and the food was great.  The scenery was mostly pretty underwhelming though IMO.  If I didn't enjoy meeting the local folks and eating the local food, I don't think I would have liked this route.  My ride was full of interesting characters and the mexican food, barbecue, Cajun food, and seafood on the gulf coast were great.

General Discussion / Re: Choosing a Bike
« on: October 31, 2014, 06:38:52 am »
There are ways to attach a rack without braze-ons.  The brake bridge is a good upper mount and there are racks that use the QR skewer.  Alternately p-clamps work in either place.

Personally I don't think having more water bottle cages is a big deal.  Just carry extra water in containers in your baggage or jersey pocket and refill the bottle on the frame from them when ever you stop.  That said yeah, hose clamps work.  Maybe pad the frame with electrical tape to prevent damage.

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« on: October 30, 2014, 11:36:55 am »
I am in San Antonio, I can fly Delta to Newport News, but they charge $200 for a bike to travel, plus then I would have to ship my travel case home or to the finish. Southwest flies to Richmond, but that is a long way from the start. Is there a local bike shop that would receive my bike for me? I suppose I could send it to a UPS store or similar, leaves the issue of getting from the airport to the store. Just thinking that people have done all this before, so there must be an easy way.
I'd fly Southwest to Richmond and either start from there or ride the 67 miles to Yorktown.  I never fly Delta if I can avoid it.  Alternately I'd ship the bike to the start and use the bus to get there.   In the grand scheme of the TA riding 67 miles to the start is really a pretty minimal diversion in fairly flat country.

If you are at least 25 and really don't want to ride there, rent a car.  If you do that I have found that it works best to rent online, in advance, and usually airport to airport.  I find that if you just walk up to the counter they tell you they have no cars that can go one way, or that there is a huge charge for one way rentals.  When I book online airport to airport it is usually cheap easy and no hassle.  Use Expedia, your airline's web site, or other similar sight to book and you will find rentals for around $50 (I found going directly to the rental car company's site results in higher prices).

Either way I'd leave the case home and pack the bike in a cardboard box unless the case is a soft case that can be rolled up small, carried on the bike, and shipped home cheaply from the first post office you get to.

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Trail guidebook
« on: October 30, 2014, 06:55:50 am »
Does anyone know if there is a guidebook to the Trans Am Trail, like what "Cycling the Great Divide" is to the GDMBR? I have done a fair amount of searching, but no joy.
I am curious what utility you want from the book.  I found the AC maps had all the detail I wanted when I did the TA, the PC, and the ST.

Not the TA, but I bought the Kirkendall and Sprung book for the pacific coast route and found it OK for pre trip dreaming about the trip, but much less useful/suitable for taking along on the trip than the AC maps.  I wouldn't bother to buy it again if I had it to do over.  I found that for Oregon the ODOT bike map for the coast was better yet for the portion it covered.

General Discussion / Re: BMW 1200GS Motorcycle:
« on: October 28, 2014, 06:58:58 am »
Just did a quick check and see that the ACA described the GDMBR as:
"The big, bad granddaddy of epic mountain bike routes. 2,700 miles of primarily jeep roads (with a dash of pavement and singletrack)"
That sounds like what the GS and KLR were designed for.
If that's a good description and the single track is both a "dash" and not too tightly wooded or hemmed in by rock walls, then the 1200GS is a suitable machine.

Also, it has been said that there are a few places where motorcycles are not allowed on the route and will need to detour.  It seems to me as if the places where they have to detour are likely to be the single track sections any way.  Plus it is less of a big deal to motor through a few miles (or a few hundred for that matter) of road detour for than to pedal through it.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: October 28, 2014, 12:14:43 am »
We stayed at the Oxbow BL campsite 3 miles south of palo Verde.  It was $15 per vehicle.   We were not sure what bikes were supposed to pay and I forget what/if we decided to pay.  The site was okay as I recall.

General Discussion / Re: BMW 1200GS Motorcycle:
« on: October 27, 2014, 01:49:13 pm »
Just did a quick check and see that the ACA described the GDMBR as:
"The big, bad granddaddy of epic mountain bike routes. 2,700 miles of primarily jeep roads (with a dash of pavement and singletrack)"
That sounds like what the GS and KLR were designed for.

General Discussion / Re: BMW 1200GS Motorcycle:
« on: October 27, 2014, 01:42:26 pm »
It would be interesting to know the type of motorcycles the above posters saw on the GDMBR.  I suspect most were 250 to 400 cc single cylinder relatively light trail or dual purpose bikes.

The BMW 1200GS you ask about is a very large, very heavy motorcycle of the type called an "Adventure" motorcycle and mainly intended for dirt roads and similar, not single track trails.  Along with it's legality you might try to determine how suitable that particular motorcycle is.

If memory serves...  Of the guys I met doing the GDMBR, one was on a BMW GS (800? 1200? not sure) and one was on a Kawasaki KLR 650.  I don't specifically remember but I think the third was on another GS, but it might have been another KLR.  I do recall that two were on matching bikes I forget which one though.

I askd them and they said found their bikes well suited to the route.  I have not done the GDMBR, but I didn't get the impression that there was much if any technical single track.  Anyone care to clarify that point?

General Discussion / Re: BMW 1200GS Motorcycle:
« on: October 27, 2014, 12:36:04 pm »
While doing the TA we met and camped with three guys doing the GDMBR on motorcycles.  They seemed to be having a lot of fun.  They said they were mostly OK following the route, but did have to reroute a few places.

General Discussion / Re: leaving May 20 from Willliamsburg
« on: October 25, 2014, 03:16:06 pm »
You will meet fewer people headed in your same direction
Yes, fewer, but much more meaningful. I might spend perhaps 10-15 minutes with cyclists on the road going in the opposite direction, but perhaps weeks with cyclists going in my direction.
Agreed, but I do also recommend stopping and comparing notes with folks going the other way when you get the chance.  It is worth it for the chance to meet other cyclists, but also for info sharing.  It is a good way to learn about great places to stay, things to avoid, and things not to be missed.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: October 25, 2014, 08:02:30 am »
one bike had a could pull out tree stumps with
It depends on the rider, the terrain, and the load carried, but it seems like the majority of tourists would find that gearing too high.  24x32 is pretty common among touring cyclists and many go lower.

I did find that for me when packing light (14 pounds of gear) on the Southern Tier I was happy with a little higher gearing than that (26x28).  Still a lot of folks commented that they would not have found that gearing low enough and indeed I would have wanted lower gearing if I was carrying a more typical load.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: October 25, 2014, 07:46:39 am »
How heavy or light will you be packing?  That makes a huge difference in what I would suggest.

I figure that it makes sense to pick your gear, then the bags to carry it, and then the bike to suit those choices.

In recent years I have been cutting back on the gear and going to lighter and lighter choices.  Once you get below 20 pounds or so of base gear weight it starts to make sense to ride a racier bike than a typical touring bike.  At least that is my preference.

As far as the categories go...  Just me, but I'd stick don't find it worth spending too much on the bike.  My $599 (delivered) Windsor Touring served me well on the Trans America and other tours back when I was packing heavier.  My two companions on the TA were happy with their's as well.  On the Southern Tier with a very light load of camping and cooking gear I was very happy with and old (1990) Cannondale Crit racer with 14 pounds of clothing and camping/cooking gear in lightweight waterproof stuffsacks.  The whole rig bike and all weighed 38 pounds and worked out very well.  You can find bikes like that used for $300 or so.

General Discussion / Re: Ideas for winter bike tour
« on: October 22, 2014, 04:38:54 pm »
In the US, or are you considering other places?

If in the US, the Southern Tier is the only longish tour I have done that is really suited well to that time of year.  I rode it starting in February and finishing in April and the weather was OK.  There were some cold nights, but daytime temperatures were mostly nice.

If you are considering somewhere else, it would be summer in the southern hemisphere so lots of options there.  I have no first hand experience riding there so I have no specific suggestions.

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